PM denies abandoning inner-city seats

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Scott Morrison has denied he's abandoned Liberals in inner-city electorates at risk of being lost to independent candidates.

While the prime minister has focused on key marginal electorates contested by the major parties, he has attracted criticism for not visiting seats that are under threat by so-called "teal independents".

Prominent senior Liberals are at risk of losing their once-safe seats to the independents, who are campaigning on climate action and a federal integrity commission.

Among seats the prime minister has yet to visit ahead of the May 21 poll are Wentworth and North Sydney.

Mr Morrison started Thursday in the western Sydney electorate of Parramatta, a marginal Labor seat he has travelled to five times since the election was called.

While visiting a Lebanese sweet store in Granville, Mr Morrison sought to emphasise the contest between the two major parties, and not election tussles between Liberals and independents.

"I'm particularly focused on the contest that is happening between your two alternatives for government," he told reporters.

"Now I've made the point very clear about independents, that's a vote for chaos."

The prime minister helped to pack food during his visit to the sweet shop with Liberal Parramatta candidate Maria Kovacic.

Parramatta is currently held by Labor by just 3.5 per cent. But current MP Julie Owens is retiring at the next election, and former Rudd government adviser Andrew Charlton is running in her place.

Later in the day, Mr Morrison toured much safer territory - his own electorate of Cook in Sydney's south held by more than 19 per cent.

He visited a local rugby league club in the suburb of Blakehurst, announcing a $2.5 million upgrade to the team's clubhouse.

The prime minister then visited a bakery in the nearby seat of Hughes, which was won by the Liberals in 2019 by almost 10 per cent, before its MP Craig Kelly defected to Clive Palmer's United Australia Party.

Mr Kelly is running again at the 2022 election for the minor party, going up against Liberal candidate Jenny Ware and independent Georgia Steele.

On day 25 of the campaign Mr Morrison also pledged to support the creation of 400,000 new small businesses in the next five years.

He stressed that would be a net increase, as many small businesses battle rising inflation levels and cost of living pressures.

"100,000 (businesses) were created in the last 12 months, pretty tough times," he said.

"They see the same opportunities that I see as we come out of this pandemic."

Many of the new businesses would come from people from multicultural communities.

"Some of the biggest participants in that will be those who have come to Australia and have been born overseas," he said.

"Almost 10 per cent of those who have been overseas actually run their own businesses in ethnic communities."

The prime minister will next head to Perth, where he will speak at a lunch on Friday.

Western Australia is shaping up as a key electoral battleground, with several Liberal-held seats at risk of being lost to Labor.

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